Of all the artists that America has produced, Louis Comfort
Tiffany was one of the most gifted. Tiffany, born in 1848 in
New York City, was the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, the
owner and founder of Tiffany & Company. This company was
well known for its jewelry and silver at the time. Although
he had the opportunity, Louis Tiffany chose to follow his
own artistic path rather than join his father in the family
Louis Tiffany's first endeavor in the art world was in the
area of painting. He got his training in New York City as
well as in Paris. His first exhibit was at the National
Academy of Design, in 1867. When traveling in Europe in
1868, he met Leon-Adolphe-Auguste Belly, who helped expose
him to the Oriental style of painting.
A few years later, he traveled to Egypt, Morocco, Algeria
and Tunisia, where he learned even more skills which he
could incorporate in his paintings. Up until the mid 1870's,
Tiffany was primarily known as a painter. However it was
around that time that he started to experiment with glass.
When Louis Tiffany started working with glass, he joined
with Candace Wheeler, Samuel Colman and Lockwood De Forest,
and together they created the Louis Comfort Tiffany and
In 1881, one of their creations was a glass screen, from
floor to ceiling, for use in the White House by President
Chester A. Arthur. At this point, Mr. Tiffany was deeply
involved with his glass works, and the Tiffany Glass Company
was created. In 1902, it was then known as the Tiffany
Studios. It was from this time on that Louis Tiffany's
creations became more daring and experimental.
He found that glass with impurities in it, such as jelly
jars, helped to create more intense colors for use in
stained glass windows. However, other artists of the time
did not agree. They wanted to continue with the customary
method of creating stained glass by painting glass with
enamels. Therefore, Tiffany continued his work alone.
In the late 1870s, Tiffany followed the Aesthetic Movement.
It focused on integrating the various arts in his decorative
work. One of the greatest examples of this type of artwork
was for his good friends Louisine and Henry Osborne
Havemeyer. Tiffany used various elements he had created
including mosaic walls, fireplace screens, lighting
fixtures, and a suspended staircase to decorate their home.
Tiffany first started using mosaics in the late 1870s. At
this time he used bright colorful tiles to surround
fireplaces. It was also at this time that he came up with
the idea to use shapes other than squares when designing a
mosaic piece. This allowed his creations to look more
In the early 1890s, Tiffany experimented with a new
technique of blending different colors of glass while still
molten. He first used this glass in stain glassed windows.
At this time, art glass was becoming a collector's dream,
especially that of glass vessels. The public was interested
in new forms, colors, and decorations in these vessels.
Making note of this, Tiffany used these techniques in his
new creations of bowls and vases. Tiffany called his items
created in this way "favrile" which is taken from Old
English, meaning hand wrought, each piece unique. These
Tiffany Favriles became very popular at the time.
At the turn of the century, the Art Nouveau movement was
taking place. Louis Tiffany's work with his glass creations
embraced these ideas, which focused on incorporating art
into everyday life. It made use of nature themes, such as
floral designs, as well as flowing lines in the art work.
All of this helped make Tiffany one of the most versatile
artists of his time.
About the Author:
Ophir Gallery has presented the public with extraordinary
objects of art for over 35 years. Our offerings include
authentic Tiffany Favrile, Tiffany Studios, Art Nouveau and
many works by masters from the late 19th and early 20th
centuries - http://www.ophirgallery.com